February 4, 2004

Blade + The Matrix + An American Werewolf in London – originality = Underworld.

As a general rule, I usually like vampire movies. I’m not picky – they don’t even have to be an original take on the whole vampire mythos – I’ll still usually give them a passing grade. Unless they’re boring as hell – like Underworld. It wasn’t a bad film outright, but it wasn’t a particularly good one either. It just didn’t go anywhere. The plot line kept screaming out “there’s a twist coming!” When the “twist” finally came – it wasn’t really a twist at all. It was obvious and contrived, almost like one of those dorky Vampire role-playing games that were so popular when I was in college. (Coincidentally, the creators of those dorky role-playing games are suing the creators of Underworld for copyright infringement. As I stayed far, far away from Vampire: The Masquerade in college, I have no idea if the suit is warranted.)

Kate Beckinsale does nothing for me. She’s not a bad actress, nor a good one. Her latex outfit was going for the Trinity Look, but instead she looked like Uma Thurman’s stunt double in The Avengers. (That’s not a good thing.) And why was her hair always wet and tangled? It was raining throughout the movie – but are vampires afraid of hairbrushes?

A few more quick questions about the movie…There’s only one vampire bite in the whole movie. One. And it’s at the tail end. What the hell? What’s the point of a vampire movie without some good biting scenes? And why can Selene see her reflection? It doesn’t advance the plot one iota – so why change one of the basic tenets of vampire lore? And why are Michael and Selene in love? They have about as much on-screen chemistry as Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman. (Those who have seen Eyes Wide Shut know that I mean zero chemistry.) And they don’t even know each other? I can see Stockholm Syndrome on Michael’s part, but what could Selene possibly see in Felicity’s boyfriend?

The only interesting character in the whole movie was Lucian, the Lycan (cutesy slang for werewolf) Leader. Although he was a bit slimy looking, he seemed the most otherworldly…and at least he seemed passionate about what he was doing.

Not only is a sequel already in the works, but a prequel is coming as well. Spare me. I’ll save my moviegoing dollars for Van Helsing. There was more action in the trailer for Van Helsing than in the entire length of Underworld. Too bad Kate Beckinsale is also in Van Helsing – she’d better not fuck it up!


Year – 2003
Rating – R
Runtime – 121 minutes
Genre – Vampires and Werewolves
Director(s) – Len Wiseman
Writer(s) – Danny McBride
Actor(s) – Kate Beckinsale, Scott Speedman, Michael Sheen, Bill Nighy, Wentworth Miller
BOB Rating – Two BOBs
Favorite Quote – "A full-grown man bit you? Sure it wasn't a dog?" - Adam (Wentworth Miller)